Shortlist revealed for £2.3bn Lower Thames Tunnel contract

07/04/2021
Dominic Browne

Highways England has revealed its shortlist for a £2.3bn works package to build the Lower Thames Crossing road tunnel - the longest road tunnel in Britain.

The shortlisted joint ventures will be invited to enter into the next stage in the contract tender process, a competitive dialogue with Highways England:

Shortlisted bidders

BFV JV: BAM Nuttal, Ferrovial Construction and Vinci Construction Grands Projets, supported by Atkins, Tecnica y Proyectos SA and Stantec UK Ltd.

Bouygues Murphy Joint Venture (BMJV): Bouygues Travaux Publics and J Murphy & Sons, supported by Mott McDonald and Ove Arup and Partners

Dragados-Hochtief Joint Venture (DH JV): Dragados S.A. and Hochtief Infrastructure 

The Tunnels and Approaches contract includes the design and construction of twin road tunnels under the River Thames. At 16 metres wide, these will be some of the largest bored tunnels in the world and the longest road tunnels in the UK.

The scope of the work also includes the portal buildings, approach roads and the tunnel systems.

Matt Palmer, Lower Thames Crossing executive director, said: 'The Lower Thames Crossing is the most ambitious road project this country has seen since the M25 was completed 35 years ago. This contract shows our commitment to this project, which will support 22,000 jobs during its construction and provide a huge economic boost to the UK economy when it opens for traffic.

'This contract is unparalleled in its ambition, and we need the right partner to match that ambition. We look forward to entering into competitive dialogue with the three shortlisted companies and hope the final bids match our aspirations.'

The successful bidder will support the delivery of landscaping that will 'increase the biodiversity value of the area by 15% by planting over 260 hectares of new woodland, creating new ponds, waterways, ditches and hedgerows,' Highways England said.

The contractors will also be responsible for seven new green bridges that connect habits and species either side of the new road.

Highways England is pressing ahead with the procurement for the Lower Thames Crossing project, which could cost up to £8bn according to some estimates, despite having to withdraw its initial planning application in October 2020 to provide more information.

Highways England said it plans to resubmit its application for a Development Consent Order later this year.

The tunnelling contract is one of three main works contracts that will make up the scheme, with a £1.9bn roads contract currently out for tender and the £162.5m Integration Partner contract awarded to Jacobs earlier in the year.

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